If you don’t know, Commission Junction is an affiliate marketing network. Basically a web publisher (blogger, etc) can sign up with Commission Junction and have access to thousands of online affiliate programs in a free and easy way. You put a banner or link to a company on your site and if a sale is made originating from your link, you get a percentage of the sale. They have advertisers that range from major Fortune 500 companies to smaller more niche products and services.
Hostgator is a web hosting company, and the company that I recently switched my web hosting to. They had a great reputation for little downtime and good customer service.
I use Commission Junction and have been paid for a few of my affiliate sales that I have made, and when I spotted Hostgator as one of their advertisers I thought it would be a great way for me to promote a quality hosting company while helping to cover some of the costs of my own hosting. So, I put up their banner and low and behold I made a sale.
I’m going to honest with you here. If someone signs up for Hostgator hosting through my link (no contract required) and keeps the service past the 45 day refund term and renews for another month, my commission is $100. For $8/mo hosting. Nice HUH? Yeah only if they actually pay you.
Low-and-behold I actually made a sale through my Hostgator link and it was someone I know who wanted to thank me for some web advice I gave them, let me know they made a purchase through my link, and they also sent me a link to their new website hosted with Hostgator. It has been three months and the site still exists yet Hostgator reversed the sale, will not respond to my inquiries of why they reversed the sale and worst yet, Commission Junction will not help me by investigating the issue. They said my only recourse is to stop promoting the company.
Here is what Commission Junction said in response to my question regarding the reversal of the commission:
Thank you for your inquiry. We will be happy to send the advertiser a message on your behalf, It is not always possible to find out why an advertiser reversed a sale. Our advertiser compliance team monitors account to ensure that they reverse only those sales that did not complete. If you believe that the advertiser is not maintaining a fair relationship, it is best to promote a different company.
We hope this answers your question. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
So if they monitor the advertiser to ensure they only reverse sales that did not complete, how can they not tell me why the advertiser reversed the sale? And to be told that Commission Junction maintains relationships with advertisers who do not treat their publishers fairly and that it is my responsibility to just move on to the next advertiser does not sound like something a “global leader in affiliate marketing” should be doing to maintain their reputation.
I did follow up to that email above and asked them how come they cannot protect their publishers better, yet claim to have the ability to monitor advertisers. They proceeded to mark my help ticket as “solved” and did not respond further.
Luckily Commission Junction has a Better Business Bureau seal on their site so I will be starting there to explore this issue and file a complaint. From there I have to find out who actually regulates these companies and file complaints with them as well. My only fear is that they will then terminate my Commission Junction Account that I do make a little bit of money from – which means Commission Junction makes money off me as well. It’s not huge but it’s not pennies either.
And while Hostgator has been more reliable than my previous hosting company, how can I promote and support a company who rips people off? And until they prove that the sale should have been reversed and actually respond to my requests, that is the only obvious conclusion – that they ripped me off.
I have decided to wait until Monday to pursue this matter further, but $100 is a lot of money to me and I will not sit idly by and be taken advantage of.